The General Election and Brexit has been the main show in Parliament this year, but we have still managed to make some good progress on benefits, apprenticeship and housing!
Personal Independence Payments (PIP)
PIP is a new benefit which is gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance. Many people with a learning disability this year have been through an assessment for PIP and have told us that they had a bad experience.
We supported the Disability Benefits Consortium with an e-action, calling for the Government to #GetAGripOnPIP.
Your support meant the Work and Pensions Parliamentary Committee launched an inquiry and in December the Government announced that it would be making some improvements to the assessment process.
Not fixed, but we're making progress with your help!
If you have any questions about PIP please visit our webpages on Benefits for people with a learning disability.
Just when we thought we were done on the voting front, along came another Election in June!
We clubbed together with other charities to hold a Disability Hustings style Q&A in London in the lead up to the election, which more than 200 disabled people attended!
We also produced an easy read guide to voting and got the major political parties to produce their manifestos in Easy Read, too.
Take a look and find out more on our election webpages.
Breaking down the barriers to work and Apprenticeships
In September the Government changed the law to make Apprenticeships more flexible for people with a learning disability who struggle with English and maths.
This is great news as we've been lobbying on this for ages. We're starting to take on the first Apprentices with a learning disability here at Mencap, which is super exciting.
We also help our Disability Week Parliamentary reception, where over 40 MPs joined our call to break down the barriers to work!
Win on supported housing!
We have been campaigning to stop the Government cutting back on housing benefit available to people with a learning disability living in supported housing.
Alongside our lobbying, we supported Tessa Bolt to give evidence at a Parliamentary Select Committee. Tessa lives in supported housing and has Down's syndrome.
She did an amazing job describing to MPs why supported housing helps her to live independently and why it's important to make sure there is enough money. Tessa is the first person with Down's syndrome to give evidence at a Select Committee, and was featured in The Independent and her local radio news!
In October, the Prime Minister announced that the Government would not continue with its plans to cut housing benefit for supported housing, no doubt in part due to our influencing efforts, but also the amazing job Tessa did!